Cannabis contains more than 80 compounds, known as cannabinoids. The main cannabinoid that most people are more familiar with is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance that produces the “high” characteristic of marijuana.
It is also important to note that CBD is available in isolate (only CBD), broad-spectrum (contains other cannabinoids but not THC), and full-spectrum (contains other cannabinoids, including THC).
According to the World Health Organization, the available evidence suggests that CBD is relatively safe. However, the long-term effects are not entirely clear.
One study published in 2018 suggested that cannabidiol does not increase serotonin levels; rather, it appears to work by influencing how the brain responds to serotonin that is already there.
So how does CBD compare to traditional antidepressants? True comparisons of the effects are not yet possible simply because there is not enough research on CBD’s effects.
Between then and now, a lot has changed. Depression is recognized as a medical condition, and there are many ways to tackle it. In a lot of cases, people find a combination of therapy and medication helpful. But more and more people are exploring options other than pharmaceutical medications.
How to use CBD oil to alleviate depression symptoms
The quantity of CBD in different products varies. This is something you should check when buying CBD. As to the dosage, there are no set guidelines. It is recommended that you start with a minimal dose and increase it gradually if it doesn’t achieve the desired result. Your starting dose can be 5-10mg daily. Make sure your CBD product contains less than 0.03mg of THC, the compound from the marijuana plant that has a psychoactive effect on the user.
CBD and depression: why it has the potential to work
Proponents of CBD say that they use it instead of antidepressants. If you’re taking antidepressants, you should not attempt to go off them in favor of CBD without discussing it with a mental healthcare professional. You cannot stop taking antidepressants on the spur of the moment. Some antidepressants can only be stopped after a weaning process that involves tapering off the dosage.
Studies have shown that CBD offers a promising therapeutic profile as a potential fast-acting antidepressant treatment option. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Cannabidiol (CBD), particularly CBD-rich cannabis oil, as a tool in the fight against depression is now a key area of interest for consumers and researchers alike.
While studies are limited, “Most of the evidence on the mood regulatory effects of CBD comes from pre-clinical studies. CBD has been demonstrated to exert dose-dependent antidepressant-like effects in animal models of depression in various rodent species,” Yoon explained. “Of note, CBD appears to exert acute antidepressant effects, suggesting that it may confer temporal advantages over standard antidepressant medications, for which the onset of action typically occurs 6-8 weeks after initiation of treatment. Further, research has shown that a single dose of CBD has effects lasting up to one week in rodents, suggesting sustained antidepressant effects.”
Yoon also acknowledged the limits of medical research.
“Considerably more human studies need to be conducted in order to fully understand the benefits of CBD in relation to mood regulation. Nevertheless, given the positive pre-clinical evidence and the high safety index of cannabis, CBD holds promise as a therapeutic aid in the management of depressive symptomatology. It should be noted that drug-drug interactions, as well as issues of tolerability and safety with long-term use, are not yet fully understood. As such, CBD should always be used under the care and guidance of a medical doctor, especially when it pertains to the management of mood disorders,” she said.